I’m a lucky male feminist (picture a lucky dog) because the woman I was most in love with at university was a feminist. She made me see I needed reconstructing, and lo I was reconstructed. Thanks also to the shoulders of giants Simone de Beauvoir, Germaine Greer, Margaret Atward, Marilyn French and all the other women who were put onto my reading list.
My mother was also keen to get me speaking up when I saw injustice. So I’ve always called out misogynists and chauvinists. It sometimes makes me a bit of an outsider in male culture, but I’m happy to pay the price and I still count myself lucky. And you know what, I prefer culture to male culture.
In the last few days my luck has grown. I’ve come across Emma Hart’s brilliant writing and thinking and some useful stuff which I want to pass on to those keen on fighting the battle. And if you’re human that should include you. That stuff is called SCRIPTS.
I grew up in a male world of the usual gendered bullshit where my chore was to mow lawns outside and my sister was told girls are no good at maths and her role was inside helping mum cook. Naturally I thought it was the natural order, though I knew I was lucky to be born a male. Now I’m older I know it’s certainly not the natural order and we can change it.
An essential part of the change is the attitude of men. So, men, it’s your job to call out Creepers and misogynists – don’t put up with Rape Culture.
I’d go further than the wikipedia definition of Rape Culture. I say it means ANYTHING that disses women. Rape culture also means a culture that separates girl toys versus boy toys, it means men who think they are entitled to sexual favours at the end of an evening out and it means turning a blind eye when you see Rape Culture Behaviour (PDF of David Lisak describing Creepers becoming rapists). He says these people:
- are really good at identifying “likely” victims
- plan their moves carefully and groom their victims
- have strong impulse control, and
- use only as much violence as needed to get their way.
So I urge you to read and share Captain Awkward’s SCRIPTS. Here’s one I modified. Creeper is a guy who gropes women, hugs them just a bit too long and is always making suggestive ‘jokes’. Creeper makes women feel creeped but many of the guys like him. He can only survive as Creeper in Rape Culture. Here’s a Script for a woman to give her Boyfriend who is Creeper’s friend:
“Boyfriend, I want to talk to you about Creeper.
I know you feel like this is old news, but it’s not. I do not feel safe around Creeper. From now on, I will not be anywhere that he is. I will tell my friends not to be anywhere he is and that they should scream and call the police if he touches them. I will tell my friends what he is like and what he did to me and other women. I will not smooth things over and I will not play nice. If he asks why, I will say “I tried to talk to you. You didn’t listen, but you blamed me. I don’t trust you.”
I know that you and Creeper have a long history and that you care about him. I know that you are not his keeper. I don’t want to tell you how to run your relationships – you can feel however you want or do whatever you want. But I need you to do three things:
1) Back me up on my right not to be around Creeper. Do not invite him here, do not ask me to a place where he will also be. This is not negotiable.
2) Do not minimize what he does. Do not ask me to forgive and forget or play nice.
3) If you see him or hear about him acting that way with other women, for the love of God, STEP IN AND STOP IT.
Can you agree to that?”
My script for men? Just listen, and try hard not to be a dick.